Food Technology – Influences of Food Avalibilty

  • -

Food Technology – Influences of Food Avalibilty

Category : Articles

Chapter 1- Influences on Food Availability
The type and amount of food that people eat depends upon a variety of factors. Where people live is important because food is produced in the local area will be more plentiful and cheaper than food transported long distances. The available income to buy food is another major factor affecting what people eat, along with the level of technology available in producing and processing food: government policies concerning local industry and imports and the strength of the country??™s economy.
Foods that are commonly eaten as part of the daily diet are called staple foods. To be classed as a staple, the food must be readily available to most of the population and must provide the major source of energy in the diet of a particular group. Staples are often the most important source of protein in the diet, simply as the result of quantities in which they are eaten. Staples may be a plant or animal origin and vary from region to region.
Most cultures in the world have at least one staple food. Cereals are the most common plant staple, but root crops and legumes are basic to diets of many people. Cereals are edible grains, root crops are plants whose edible portion develops beneath the ground??™s surface and legumes are the seeds within the seed pods of specific plants.
The four main plant staples include: wheat, rice and maize (corn), which are cereals and potatoes which are a root crop. Other staples include millet, sorghum, cassava, and taro and soya beans.
Plant foods are excellent source of carbohydrates includes starch and dietary fibre. In the developing countries the consumption of plant staples may provide around 75% of the energy in a person??™s diet. Staples may also contribute 40 to 70% of the protein intake in these countries, so staples nutritional quality is important. Cereals provide significantly higher quantities of protein than root crops, while legumes are nutritionally the best source of plant protein.
Staple Plant Foods
including the basic staple plant foods, wheat, rice and cassava.
Wheat is eaten in more countries of the world than any other staple. The growing conditions for the what may vary depending in the variety of the wheat, but most varieties prefer cool, wet conditions during the growing season and warm, dry conditions during ripening.
Wheat has been the cultivated around the Middle East and the Nile valley between 15 000 and 10 000BC. As people from these areas moved and settled into new lands, the production of the wheat becomes more widespread. The migrating people introduced wheat to people in other areas who then began including it in some of their own food products.
Wheat has became a popular cereal because it is resourceful as a food source, wheat can be:
* Cracked and eaten in soups and salads such as Lebanese tabouli
* finely ground to produce semolina and is used in products such as sweet Indian cakes
* Ground into flour and used to produce breads, cakes, pasta, pancakes and noodles.

Rice is most likely to be a staple food in Asia and it is the most commonly eaten staple food in the world. Rice is thought to have originated in the monsoonal areas of South- East Asia and to have been a staple food in the area since 5 000BC. It needs a warm climate and large quantities of water in which to grow. Fields are flooded to allow the rice to grow in water and flat land and a lay- based soil which is needed in this process.
The manner in which rice is prepared and consumed depends on where it is being served
* In Asia steamed or boiled rice is eaten for all meals
* In Europe rice is served as a summer salad and for winter it is served as pudding
* In the Middle East rice is used to savoury dish pilaf, which is the main meal.
* In England rice flour is used in the making for shortbread.

Meat and fish as staple foods
Animal staple have moved throughout the world as people have migrated, Australia as a prime example: the food animal foods that form our staples today did not exist on this continent 250 years ago. Our current meat staples came to us as a result of migration. Lam was a staple food of colonial Australia, but over the years beef has been replaced lamb as the most commonly consumed meat.
People who live in the coastal areas or countries surrounded by water (Japan, etc..) have ready access to fish and other seafood??™s where as a result these food frequently appear in the diet of people in these areas. Other cultures such as Australian Aboriginals use native plants and animals as staple foo. The lean, nutritious flesh of kangaroo was once the staple food of the Aboriginal people living in the inland Australia, while coastal areas rely on fish and seafood.

Before the Europeans arrived in Australia; Australian Aborigines had a nutritious and varied food supply. They did not have a staple food as such because the animals they hunted and the plants that they gathered varied from coastal regions to inland regions. They normally ate food as they collected it, but some vegetables contains small amounts of harmful substances which then toxicity builds up over a long period of time an can cause death. Aboriginals move from place to place food related toxicities were unlikely to develop
Traditional Aboriginal animal foods
The foods that obtained from animals include:
* Marine life and shellfish ??“ Fish, small sharks, stingrays, clams, crayfish, freshwater mussels, dugong, eels
* Reptiles- lizards, snakes, frogs, long necked turtles, turtle eggs and goannas
* Birds- mutton birds, wild geese, emus, mallee fowl, , plague locust
* Insects- witchetty grubs, honey ants, green ants
* Marsupials- wallabies, kangaroos, possums, flying foxes, echidnas
The amounts of flesh on these meats are much lower than the beef, lamb and pork that we eat and the ratio of polyunsaturated fats is higher. The insect foods are high in fat, energy and protein.

Plant sources
Many different parts of the plants were eaten, including:
* Roots- yams, waterlily roots, bush onion
* Fruits and vegetables- bush raisins, wild figs, bush beans, bush oranges, bush tomatoes, bush berries etc…
* Stems- pigweed and mulga grasses, waterlily stalks
* Seeds and nuts- pandanus nuts, bunya nuts, cycad nuts, millet, chestnuts, bush nuts, pig wig seeds
Green leafy vegetables are not included in the list and fruits played a small part in traditional Aboriginal diets. A tropical fruit, the billygoat plum is the highest food source of vitamin C.

Throughout Australia??™s history each arrival of large groups of people resulted in increased food availability because each group introduced grew and prepared the familiar foods of their homeland.
Colonial food production
When the early European settlers came to Australia, they expected to eat the foods they knew. But the plants and animals they saw Aborigines eating were unlike anything they have ever seen. So the Europeans brought the foods from their homeland to Australia, shipping beef, biscuits, dried peas, butter, wheat flour or grain and rum or gin. As time went by, attempts to grow foods failed and supplies ran short. So they had mixed native plants and animal species to the food rations. Native spinach, native celery, native parsley, wild currants the edible heart of the cabbage palm, fish and game such as bush turkeys were added to the settlers??™ diet. However it was not as nutritional as the Aboriginals diet. The settlers??™ poor health was the result of the diet because they were lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables and fruit
The early developments to grow fruit and vegetables in Sydney Cove were not successful. A government farm was established on the rich soil in Parramatta in 1789, and the resulting crops were used to supplement the rations given out from the military stores. Fruit and vegetable production involved largely human labour because there were no enough animas to pull ploughs. This made the process slow and tiring.
Milk and milk products
Few officials were able to keep a house cow, but there were only a few diaries in the early colony. A diary was established at Ultimo in Sydney in 1805. They were able to get milk produced a range of milk products, mainly butter and cheese.
Fishing was done through fishermen who were done in a causal basis in the early 1800s. Fishmongers bought the fish and sold in from their carts in the street.

Technology influences the amount and type of food available. Technology applies to the following in the food industry:
* Processes such as Sterilisation of canned food
* Machines such as. Microwaves, ovens
* Tools such as whisk, sifter, vegetable peeler
* Systems such as ordering shipping and distribution of productions for a supermarket
* Products such as the making of yogurt.
* Resources such as coal burned to produce electricity, water used to wash salad ingredients.
Even from the earliest times, food has been processed in some way to make it more suitable for human consumption. The difference is that now we have harnessed technology to help us produce a wider variety of food that can also be stored to longer periods. The changes and improvements in one area of technology have also led to benefits in other areas. For some plants grown on land to produce omega 3 oils are considered healthy oils and are normally found in only fish. Technology has also made it possible to:
* Preserve food so that it can be stored for longer periods
* Maintain a constant food supply that is generally wholesome and constantly changing.
* Eat foods that are out of season
* Produce foods that bear little likeness to the foods from which they were made.
* Transform one raw food into numerous products
* Have an endless variety of food in our daily diets
Technological change and equipment
the factors that have led to dramatic changes in the way our food us processed:
* The availability of electricity opened the door to a whole new way of lie. Bought changes in production methods in industry and in domestic life. Electricity allowed for development if many of the appliances and equipment used in food preparations
* World War 1 and 2 required large amounts of food to be produced and preserved quickly. The food maintained transportation
* Plastics became widely spread and were used in production of new equipment and packaging
* Manufacturing methods were streamlined to increase the speed of production. Automated machinery, assembly line production techniques and computer technology have all increased the rate at which goods are produced. This has improved efficiently making goods cheaper and within the reach for consumers.
Technology used in food storage and distribution
For a food industry to be successful, it must be able to supply consumers with food products whenever and wherever we want them. This means that there are facilities that are designed and built to protect foods from contamination and spoilage before processing and distribution. Fresh foods are normally transported in refrigerated containers set at the right temperature for the food to stay at its best. The refrigerated container comes in variety of sizes and is loaded on truck, trains or ships.
Distribution networks are essential for processed foods to be reached their point of sale. Food can be transported by road, rail or air. The type of transportation is determined by the physical qualities of the food, the quantity and the distance to be travelled. The cost of transportation is included in the price that consumers pay for the food, so the best interest of the company is to use cheaper effective method of distribution.
Technology in the marketplace
A marketplace is the location or environment where consumers purchase the products they need. Once people sold goods only within their local area, but today many companies sell their goods internationally.
The international marketplace exists because countries try to sell products to other countries as a means of bringing money in their economies. It means that we are able to buy foods from all over the world on our local supermarkets. Most companies and countries try to sell value- added products because it increases the selling price of the product and therefore the product.
Food was fresh as storage conditions were limited. The general store sold basic items but usually there were just one brand name available for each item. Store owners allowed regularly customers to keep a store account and pay for food purchases at the end of the month. The whole manner of shopping was slower and less complicated. However, there were drawbacks to this system:
* Small shopkeepers could not afford to keep a large variety of similar products
* Customers had limited opportunity to purchase sale items
* Foods were weighed on scales or counted by hand and put into paper bags, so shopping was time consuming
* Shopping involved frequent trips to the store because the purchaser often had to carry nags home rather than drive home in the family car.
The use of modern technology is relevant in our present marketplaces with the new electronics to make shopping easier, electronic scanning devices read products barcodes, register the prices and product sales. Large supermarkets allow customers to pay by credit cards or EFTOPS. You can order food online and delivered other than driving to the supermarket to buy your groceries

Politics refer to our system of public administration or government. The economy is the framework that the government establishes and use the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services so that it can satisfy the needs of the population.
Economic influences on food availability
an economy that is strong means consumers have enough money to purchase goods and services. Consumers spending sends a message to producers to produce more, which is increasing the selection of items available to the consumer. Australia has a market economy which means that the production and distribution of goods and services takes largely through private enterprise and price is determined by demand and supply. Therefore producers and consumers who are dictating what food is produced, how it is distributed and how much we will pay for it.
Large stable economies, like Australia attracts the interest and investment of foreign companies that wish to secure a share of profitable market, the economy then attract more consumers to grow. The most developed countries have fairly strong, stable economies, particularly when compared with the economies of many developing nations.
Australia is a prosperous country and absolute poverty is not prevalent. In contrast, economies that are weak produce barley enough food for their people. These countries usually have:
* Large populations and larger families
* Poor medical services
* Little technology
* Few manufacturing industries
* Unstable governments
Countries relying on agriculture are often developing countries with low levels of technology, what is grown tends to be shared among the people in the local community. This is called subsistence agriculture and the simple economy based on it may be referred to as subsistence economy. Countries that depend on agriculture depend on the weather so little or too much rain can affect the economic growth.
Poverty and its effects
Quality of life refer to the extent to which a person has their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. Some people also interpret quality of life to include personal happiness. Money can make the difference between living comfortably where a person??™s basic needs are med or living in relative poverty where one or more of as person??™s basic needs are not met due to lack of money. Those living in relative poverty have a standard of living below the rest of the community.
Developing countries struggle to feed their populations and their life expectancy is lower as a result of under nutrition. Without any nutritious diet the body is unable to function to its full capacity. It is more susceptible to disease and has a greater difficulty fighting infections and regaining optimum health. The body??™s energy levels are lowered as a result of the continual infections and insufficient food.

Little money
little education
poor medical care
limited food

Unable to work Under nutrition

Illness and disease Little resistance to infection

The yield produced in developing countries is much lower than those attained in developed countries, because of one or more of the following situations:
* Over cropping of soils- the soil is not allowed to lay fallow for a year because often there is limited land and availability for family to grow food. Crops are planted year in year out without giving the soil a chance to replace the nutrients lost
* Low levels of technology
– technology is required to produce good quality fertilisers to improve every kind of soil, and specific fertilisers are chosen depending on what plants are to be grown. Using fertilisers adds to the expense of producing food
* The type if machinery available for tilling, planting and harvesting by subsistence farmers are basic, requiring animal or human labour to operate them.
* Incorrect storage of grains for the next season??™s planting can result in damage by insects, rodents and moulds or fungi
* After a few years of drought, a flood or some and other natural disaster, many people are forced to leave their land and may drift to towns or cities looking for food